Marketing Stunt Shuts Down City Of Boston

from the attention-grabber dept

Sometimes attempts at viral, word-of-mouth marketing can go too far. Turner Broadcasting thought it had come up with a slick way of promoting a show on Adult Swim by placing glowing signs featuring one of the show's characters all around the city of Boston. There was just one problem: with everyone so on edge these days about terrorism and suspicious objects, the signs drew out the bomb squads, and much of the city's infrastructure ground to a halt. Highways, commuter rail lines and the subway were all affected, as crews responded to worried phone calls throughout the city. The city's response is very similar to when some girls were arrested for playing a real-life version of the game Super Mario Brothers, which involved them placing boxes with question marks all around their neighborhood. While this latest stunt is bringing a lot of publicity to Turner Broadcasting, it's safe to say that this isn't what they hoped to see happen. The company will almost certainly face fines and other legal sanctions for tying up the city's anti-terrorism resources. Perhaps the marketing department at Turner Broadcasting needs to audit that college course on viral marketing.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Jabroni, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 10:12pm

    This is Ridiculous

    Read the article that Joe links to.
    This is absolutely ridiculous. "the police will continue to treat this as a crime scene". Waste of taxpayers money. Turner already admitted that they were their ads. All it was, was simply a circuit board and a series of lights. People called in claiming they were "pipe-bombs" and knowing all of this. the police STILL are investigating?
    My god our government sure knows how to waste all that money.

     

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    Master Shake, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 10:28pm

    You realize we are not talking about boxes here? They were FLAT signs with LED's on them. There was a battery pack on it but it was small in the overall size of the "device." Had someone actually looked at them this may have not been such a big deal. This was also not done by Turner it was a 3rd party firm that was hired to promote the movie. I highly doubt Turner will be held responsible.

     

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    Bradford, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 10:35pm

    How did this happen?

    This issue would have been nonsense if there was a sticker with Cartoon Network and a phone number on the circuits. Authorities would have confirmed all of this sooner and wasted less time. The reaction to this is ridiculous. The issue really relates to the scale of this "disaster"... One marketing trick slowed down an entire city.

     

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    krum, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 10:50pm

    insane

    This is just retarded. Even if I didn't know what ATHF was, I wouldn't assume the devices were bombs by the looks of them. Although the devices were placed in many large cities, looks like Boston is the only one that paranoid. I'm sure we'll be seeing these items on eBay soon.

     

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    Joshua, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 10:59pm

    All the talk about making Turner pay is just ludicrous. Why should they have to pay for the stupidity of others? If a cop decides that the backpack I accidentally left at the bus stop is a bomb, why the hell should I be responsible for paying for them shutting down the buses over something that should have just been turned in to the lost and found? At most I could reasonably see Turner getting a $1000 (or whatever it is in Boston) fine, per sign, for littering.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 11:05pm

    I can't believe they are calling it a hoax! That implies someone was purposely trying to make people think they were bombs.

    I blame Bush. :-P
    Obviously some people still haven't recovered from his fear mongering.

     

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  7.  
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    Frink, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 11:10pm

    over reaction

    The people who should be punished are all the foolish government officials who over reacted and made asses of themselves. These devices were positioned for at least two weeks in several US cities before all this happened. There was never any reason for officials to cause such a huge public scare like this.

     

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    security, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 11:11pm

    Did Anyone Attempt to Communicate

    "The individuals who placed these packages should be warned that there is a heavy penalty -- two to five years imprisonment for each one of them. We are not playing around."
    While the City was being Shut Down - did anyone responsible for those signs attempt to communicate with any of the officials or agencies.

     

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  9.  
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    Iron Chef, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 11:40pm

    Use Case #1 why "Viral Marketing... For College Credit" (See http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070129/180848.shtml ) Makes NO sense at all.

     

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  10.  
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    ScytheNoire, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 11:46pm

    America's Nazi State

    Reason #313,561 of why 9/11 was a success
    American's have turned into complete whacko's, afraid of the sky falling, only showing just how well the terrorists won. They don't need to attack again, because America is still scared like hell that every and any one is a terrorist and out to get them.

    Hey America... GET OVER IT ALREADY!!!

     

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    Seattle Driver, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 11:55pm

    The issue, and the only issue, was because the "ads" had Ignignokt sharing the "International Symbol of Love". Now, if he hadn't been flipping the bird, the world would have been safer...

    Let's face it, in Boston, they are a bunch of mad people, and arguably the worst drivers on the planet.

    Apparently, the entire town is not up to date on pop culture, as well, and the flashing lights would have made them even worse drivers, so of course, it's an act of terrorism.

    Get a life, Boston. As your neighbors, co-workers, girlfriends, and bosses so elequently said to me when Iwas there last, "Go F*** yourself."

     

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    Mr.MacPhisto, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 11:59pm

    I F*ed your girlfriend when I was in Boston last. My dad also said your Mom was great.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:05am

    Re:

    >> Why should they have to pay for the stupidity of others?

    It's a growing trend. See http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070122/145926.shtml

     

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  14.  
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    Iron Chef, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:06am

    Re:

    >> Why should they have to pay for the stupidity of others?

    It's a growing trend. See http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070122/145926.shtml

     

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  15.  
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    Ur, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:08am

    Other cities didn't freak

    This same ad campaign was done in a handful of other cities. There were a few here in Seattle, down in Portland, LA, etc. Why didn't we freak out like crazed idiots? Somehow the rest of us laughed at the humor of it all, while Boston was shutting down and heading for bunkers. Someone send that town a shipment of Purple Haze.

     

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    @UR, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:15am

    AMEN my fellow Seattlite

    Apparently, the entire town is not up to date on pop culture.

    I, for one appreciated the valient attempt made to appeal to their core audience, which includes me. Boston, on the other hand, is full of crazy over-reacting Irish who just want a Guinness. If the sign was of a bottle of Guinness or Jameson, everything would have been okay.

     

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    Sohrab, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 2:36am

    wow. we have gone beyond paranoid in the US

     

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    Dam, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:27am

    Turner Should Do Jail Time

    For those of you young'uns who think all of us here in Boston are a bunch of dweebs for reacting the way we did, GET A CLUE. Just because it didn't happen in other cities may mean no one put the stupid things on a bridge or overpass. The morons that perpetrated this bullshit need to do some real jail time for their lunancy.

    Since 9/11 we've been told to be vigilant and yesteday, a citizen was doing just that. The bomb squad ALWAYS treats all calls like this as the real thing until it's absolutely certain a device presents no safety issue. Additionally, it's illegal to post anything on public infrastructure.

    What hasn't been reported nationally is that phony pipe bombs WERE found in two locations. Local media is now reporting this. Until those are destroyed no one can assume anything.

    Personally, I sat in traffic yesterday for nearly TWO hours thanks to some dickhead at TBS thinking how cool he was, promoting a jackass cartoon.

    First responders all over the city were fully engaged in reacting to this stunt, not knowing until late in the day that's all it was.

    Boston commuters - let's get a good class action lawyer and make these idiots pay. Then, I hope those responsible end up as dates for guys who wear state issue clothing behind tall concrete walls.

    Turner sucks and we will NOT let this go away quietly.

     

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  19.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:46am

    i'd have to completely disagree that turner sucks. american anti-terrorist propaganda sucks. the terrorists have won. entire cities shut down due to marketing campaigns. think if there was an actual terrorist attack? there'd be riots and looting and cannibalism.

    [/sensationalism]

    seriously, i laughed for a while when i found out we closed down boston for the MOONINITES!!!! :D ... it still makes me laugh thinking about it. those moon bastards are finally planning their invasion.

     

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  20.  
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    justok, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:47am

    The solution

    The solution: people should be banned from all public places.The world would be safer for the children and the Security Services could instead focus on surveillance of private places.

     

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  21.  
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    Peter, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:48am

    Is it just me or

    Shouldn't the guy from the ad firm be teaching the course on Viral Marketing?

    I'm just saying, this event in Boston is getting national coverage because of police/public stupidity. Free ads for Adult Swim.

    Real jail time for distributing glorified flyers? Who needs a clue exactly?

     

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  22.  
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    John, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:58am

    Boston Scare

    Apparently the rest of you thnik it is funny,Here are a few facts for you. One Boston was where the 911 planes took off. Second plastic explosives and C4 could easily have been planted in these so called funny ads. They have been engineered since vietnam that just a small amount is all that needs to be used.Cabable of destroying mid size structures or having extended blast areas. Also they can be made to look like any component on these ad devices.
    Yes you may make fun of all this. But what would youy all say if these devices were real and actualy went off. Also the post about he pipe bomb was a seperate incident not related to this.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:59am

    Yeah, ditto to the previous post. It was a marketing holiday for them, all the press they could have ever ask for. Every article names the show and the company, basically the city of Boston did the work for them, haha.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:07am

    I wanna know

    what the first cop, who realised what was going on, said. There's a video of the "consistent with an improvised explosive" device on the first link, and it looks just like the character. anyone who saw those episodes would see that instantly.

    I was watching adult swim last night and saw a bump apologising to the city of Boston. I was wondering if it was real.

    I also like how they blurred out the finger on the LED panel.

    And I'd have to say that if this happened here and Pittsburgh was shut down for this I would be really upset with the city for over reacting not adult swim for being creative.

     

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  25.  
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    Steve, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:31am

    A great point was made today on WEEI...

    When I read about this last night, I thought "Typical Boston. Only we would think a cartoon character would be a bomb."

    And then I saw a picture of the device.

    There is no text indicating WHAT is being advertised. All it was was a flat "light brite" looking circuit board with a blocky animated figure flipping you the bird. Underneath said board appeared wiring which tied to a string of batteries. Also of note from the picture I saw, it looked like the wiring was coming from behind the circuit board.

    Now you can say "it's only advertising, no one reasonably could have looked at the thing and thought 'Hey, this could be mistaken for a bomb'"...but then Gerry Callihan, who I usually don't agree with, made the best point...

    These devices were left all over various points of infastructure in the city. They were left there because that's where the show's demo would most likely notice them.

    Why didn't they put any at the airport?

     

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  26.  
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    straif, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:36am

    These "suspicious devices" did one thing: they blinked rudely. Right or wrong, the city was shut down by how people reacted to them.

    Reading the headlines and listening to people confirmed something I suspected. People wanted them to be bombs. I don't know why exactly. Perhaps to justify their own fears; so they could say to themselves "see! I wasn't being paranoid, the world really is that dangerous." Perhaps it was xenophobia. "Now there is one more reason to hate *them*"

    And of course, the media enjoyed it. It sells newspapers. Even long after it was clear what they were, news sites were still talking about "suspicious devices". the politicians and powers-that-be would be fools not to exploit it.

    I've heard plenty of "you can't be too safe". Maybe. But perhaps we should do something about the more likely dangers. I am far more likely to be killed by a fellow driver on one of these roads than by a "suspicious device" placed underneath it. But it wouldn't be newsworthy. The statistics are calculated, the likelihood is known. Apart from my family and friends--and the other driver's insurance rates--no one would shed a tear. It isn't that people are callous, it is just that auto fatalities are routine. They are just a part of daily life.

    If it is true that you can't be too safe, then I think we should start with the real dangers before worrying about the hypothetical ones. But that doesn't sell newspapers, get you elected, or justify your hate.

     

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  27.  
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    Nate from Boston, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:41am

    I feel Less Safe

    I feel a lot less safe knowing the supposed 'experts' running security in our town and on the bomb squad don't know the difference between an explosive and a light sign. These people get paid for this, do this for their career and still manage to F it up. People are supposed to be intelligent up here, but this whole thing makes us look like GD idiot Floridians.

     

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  28.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:47am

    Welll now...


    Perhaps the marketing department at Turner Broadcasting needs to audit that college course on viral marketing.


    From the publicity this drumming these guys may need to be teaching that college course.

    Honestly I don't blame the city of Boston being scared for until it was proven they weren't bombs or whatever. I mean if I saw an LED advertising a show I didn't know about I'd be a little scared too. But now that the cat is out of the bag the city just needs to STFU.

    I would go as far as to say that the creators of the show do a future episode making fun of the city of Boston but then Boston would sue for slander, lible, deformation, and just to be on the safe side copyright infringment.

     

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  29.  
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    Dan, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:47am

    They Won!

    This goes to show you that the terrorists have already won. Our paranoia and fear have allowed laws be passes that would never have normally been considered. We are starting to lack the basic freedoms that make us a unique country. You can't go out and play mario bros withouth the fear of being arrested. It limits what we can do that provides us fun and pleasure. We have to worry that our actions will somehow be interpreted in a negative light; and we'll be punished or severely inconvienienced because of them. This is terrorism. It is working; you can see the results all around us. There doesn't need to be a bomb or a murder... There just has to be fear; and that is totally evident.

     

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  30.  
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    Sane in Boston, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:48am

    We need a clue

    > Second plastic explosives and C4 could easily have been planted in these so
    > called funny ads.

    Ya because a flashing sign flipping the bird is the perfect stealthy place to hide a bomb. Sheesh.

    We (the folks in Boston) completely over reacted to this. I think what's going on now is that we realize that, but rather than being big enough to admit it we're just getting pissed and pointing the finger everywhere else. If you want to go after these folks for posting signs in inappropiate areas, that's fine. The complete over reaction to this activity however falls squarely on the city.

     

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  31.  
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    Steve, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 5:58am

    Re: Boston Scare

    Quote Apparently the rest of you thnik it is funny,Here are a few facts for you. One Boston was where the 911 planes took off. Second plastic explosives and C4 could easily have been planted in these so called funny ads. They have been engineered since vietnam that just a small amount is all that needs to be used.Cabable of destroying mid size structures or having extended blast areas. Also they can be made to look like any component on these ad devices. Yes you may make fun of all this. But what would youy all say if these devices were real and actualy went off. Also the post about he pipe bomb was a seperate incident not related to this Yes they could have been plastic explosives. But then again, so could any mailbox, traffic cone or potted plant. You want to start some panic, start having explosive traffic cones. There were not items made to look like bombs, they were electric signs. I'm sure the police get several calls a day about suspicious packages, why did they freak out over these? Why did it take the Bomb squad 12 hourse to figure out the first one wasn't a bomb? Seems like the Govt screwed up on thias one.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Boston Scare

    Quote

    "Apparently the rest of you thnik it is funny,Here are a few facts for you. One Boston was where the 911 planes took off. Second plastic explosives and C4 could easily have been planted in these so called funny ads. They have been engineered since vietnam that just a small amount is all that needs to be used.Cabable of destroying mid size structures or having extended blast areas. Also they can be made to look like any component on these ad devices. Yes you may make fun of all this. But what would youy all say if these devices were real and actualy went off. Also the post about he pipe bomb was a seperate incident not related to this "




    Yes they could have been plastic explosives. But then again, so could any mailbox, traffic cone or potted plant.

    You want to start some panic, start having explosive traffic cones.

    There were not items made to look like bombs, they were electric signs.

    I'm sure the police get several calls a day about suspicious packages, why did they freak out over these?

    Why did it take the Bomb squad 12 hourse to figure out the first one wasn't a bomb?

    Seems like the Govt screwed up on thias one.

     

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  33.  
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    Steve, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 6:07am

    Re: Boston Scare (with better formatting)

    Yes they could have been plastic explosives. But then again, so could any mailbox, traffic cone or potted plant.

    You want to start some panic, start having explosive traffic cones.

    There were not items made to look like bombs, they were electric signs.

    I'm sure the police get several calls a day about suspicious packages, why did they freak out over these?

    Why did it take the Bomb squad 12 hourse to figure out the first one wasn't a bomb?

    Was the good bomb squad guy on vacation?

    Seems like the Govt screwed up on thias one.

     

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  34.  
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    Chris, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 6:18am

    Re: America's Nazi State

    I agree that the Terrorists have won as well. Everyone keeps talking about going on as normal so we can tell the Terrorists they haven't won, yet we jump at every little thing. How can we go on as normal when we can't bring bottled water through security gates at airports?

     

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    KevinG79, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 6:31am

    *sighs*

    As usual this just goes to what what a group of mindless jackasses the members of our Government really are. As others have pointed out -- the terrorists have fun. Everyone is running around with sticks up their asses, so damn afraid of another "attack." that they are now not allowing any humor in their lives. When someone tries to make people laugh, it turns into mass-hysteria and chaos. Everyone freaking out over another friggen attack.

    Get over yourselves, people. 911 was 5 years and some odd months ago. It's time to move on. Fight back and show the terrorists that we are NOT afraid. Good God some of you seriously need to wake the hell up. I got over it 6 months after 911. You all should get over it, too. If not, maybe you need to start seeing you shrink twice a week...

    Boston totally overreacted to this. Stop trying to make excuses for what your stupid Government did and face the facts of the matter. And if you're too stupid to figure out that these signs were cartoon characters, than seriously, you should be going to jail. I think being far too ignorant should be a crime. Look at all the money that was wasted. And no, it's NOT Turner or the creators of ATHF's fault. It's YOUR fault for being so G*D damned STUPID.

     

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  36.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Feb 1st, 2007 @ 6:35am

    There are LED Bombs everywhere!

    Look out! There is electronic equipment with red, yellow, and green LEDs at nearly every intersection! Call the bomb squad!

    I don't know what Bostonians are all angry about. I was there a few months ago and the highway system was so jacked up from construction it took me an hour-and-a-half to get to the freeway onramp from the airport that was a mile away. Luckily my car rental was upgraded to a sporty vehicle instead of the economy one I reserved. The zippyness definitely helped make my movesin traffic. I have driven in L.A. and it is nothing like Bostons mess.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 7:17am

    Re: Boston Scare

    "Second plastic explosives and C4 could easily have been planted in these so called funny ads."

    I fail to see the logic behind this. Plastic explosives and C4 could easily by planted in a multitude of objects, most of which would be a whole lot less conspicuous than a glowing sign. Should be outlaw backpacks? What about water bottles?

    Even a cursory inspection of the objects would have revealed that they are nothing more than a battery and lights. The faulty logic behind counter-terrorism in the US today is the same faulty logic behind the **AA and their tactics. You can't treat everyone like they're criminals. You can't assume every time you see something suspicious that it's a bomb. People have to think for themselves. Common sense has to enter the equation somewhere. Boston officials over-reacted, plain and simple.

     

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    Commuter, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 7:58am

    Re: I feel Less Safe

    Listen dumbass, a bomb squad member that wants to live to retirement age NEVER makes assumptions when the facts are not known.

    You and the other shitheads that are making these comments would be the first to cry for your mamas if any of them actually went off and disrupted your stay at Starbucks.

    Get off the couch, get a real job and wake the fuck up.

     

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    Commuter, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    Hey numbnuts, did the first responders KNOW it was a marketing stunt, out on to attract a bunch of cartoon-watching, 420-friendly assholes like you?

    I hope they throw the book at them and lock them up for 10 years, dipshits.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:02am

    NOTE: These signs had been up for over a week before they were found. It on CNN.com

     

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  41.  
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    Commuter, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:04am

    Re: Boston Scare

    You are right on brother. These little children that are posting on here are worried that their brainless cartoon will be taken off the air. What will they ever do?

    Sad thing is, that if any of the posters on here are over 18 and in college (or recent grads) maybe they ought to consider suing the school they attended for breach of contract. They and their parents actually thought they would get an education. Fooled them, eh?

    As I write this, I am now hearing the five US soldiers that were killed by terrorists in SUVs now may be officers in the Iraqi army. Just proves my point - you can't trust anything you see until all the facts are in.

     

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    Commuter, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:05am

    Re: *sighs*

    Kevin you are the dumbass here. Let's see you walk up to a device with wires and batteries and see how brave you are.

     

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    KevinG79, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:18am

    WTFever

    Commuter...

    First of all, I am not a child. I do not participate in "4:20" and I am not a pot-head junkie. Not all people who watch Adult Swim cartoons are immature, pot smoking teenagers and college kids. I love how you right winged Bush supporting republicans make stereotypes about anything you are too ignorant to understand. I am 28 years old. I have a real job. I'm not "sitting on the couch" smoking a bowl. I am not a moron because I happen to have a sense of humor and enjoy watching shows like Family Guy and ATHF. You're just pissed because such shows make fun of republican assholes like you.

    If I lived in Boston and I saw such a sign with "wires and batteries" I wouldn't have freaked out and cried " TERRORIST!!" like all you other idiots did. First of all, I would have recognized the character on the sign and would have known it was advertising. A LITE-BRITE sign with LEDs does not say "danger" to me.

    Lighten the fuck up. As I said, 911 was 5 years ago. Stop letting the terrorists win. GET OVER IT. Have a sense of humor -- pull that stick out of your tight ass and put the blame where it belongs. Just admit that your beloved Government fucked up, once again.

     

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    LightBrite, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:21am

    Overzealous Government

    I have never laughed so hard as I did over the government press conferences on the "threat" of these overgrown LiteBrites. They are obviously embarrassed by their ill thought out reaction and are desperate to cover up their stupidity. The local citizens should be glad that Turner did not place the characters from the cartoon they were promoting around the city. I’m sure life sized talking milkshakes, french fries and meat balls would have justified deploying the National Guard to counter this alien threat!

     

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    Matt Bennett, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:32am

    I live in Boston. These things look nothing like bombs. A plain brown box would frankly have been much more suspicious. They've been up for weeks. Whoever called in to report them is an idiot. The Boston Police are idiots. Menino is really big, fat, idiot.

    Other cities, they just threw them away. Now Menino wants to throw the book at the marketing company? Does he think that will make them look less like idiots?

    I'm not saying posting these things was a very bright (hah!) idea, it wasn't. But the city's resposne was far more idiotic.

     

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  46.  
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    KevinG79, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:35am

    Thank you, Matt

    Thanks Matt. My sentiments, exactly. Calm the hell down, people...

     

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  47.  
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    Matt, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 8:45am

    I blame Meatwad!!!

     

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  48.  
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    The infamous Joe, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 9:03am

    In plain sight.

    So, you're saying that if I really wanted to blow you all up, all I have to do is hang blinking lights in the shape of Brian from The Family Guy around your city-- which happen to be filled with C-4, and you'll ignore it? Well, except for Boston, they'd figure it out.

    Hmm.. interesting...

    I hope you don't all assume that these terrorists you all mention are isolated from the current trends. What is to stop someone from doing exactly what Boston feared? The simple fact is that the smart thing for Turner to do would be to contact the city and let them know the location and shape of every device. Then when a call comes in, they check the list and move on.

    An overreaction on Boston's part? Only because they weren't bombs. If they were, Boston would be the only city with brains.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 9:10am

    Wow! This post really brought out the idiots.

    In a time of heightened awareness, when there are real people who tell us they want to kill us, fear is a rational reaction. The emotion of fear is the result of millions of years of evolution, and is one of the reasons we survived as a species.

    I'm glad to see the fine ERTs of Boston responded so quickly and with authority. Too bad for those other cities, though. Apparently, no one in those cities noticed anything unusual.

     

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  50.  
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    William Johnson III, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 9:14am

    Lessons in current pop culture

    Does Boston needs a few lessons in current Pop Culture? If so, it may elude to a much bigger problem--

    Who's replacing the parent-kid conversations these days? To clarify, I mean, does anyone in Boston take an active role in the kids lives? To clarify, the Person who called the cops didn't understand the pop culture icon, and it was escalated all the way to the SWAT/Bomb Squad teams, and mayor.

     

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  51.  
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    ftw, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 9:23am

    wow, seems everyone on here is either a right wing nut job or a left wing wacko.

    i think there is some blame on both sides. yes the marketing campain was kinda stupid. in today's scared world, we are never too careful. i don't blame boston for responding with the bomb squad. however, i think 12 hours is way to long to figure out it's just a sign. i can understand between 2 and 4 hours, but half a day? idk about that.

    but it's funny coz i see all kinds of stuff that could be bombs. gas tanks, neon signs other LED light displays.

    yes, most IEDs would'nt be so bladent (from my understanding) they would be in a box next to a garbage can or dump. a backpack at a library, something not too out of the ordinary. but whatever

    and yes, i think the ad company has some expalining to do. they should have contacted the boston gov't and say, hey look at these. they're ads. just so you know.

    but we live in a scared snowball world.

     

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  52.  
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    Matt Bennett, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 9:26am

    Here's the thing: ANYTHING CAN BE A BOMB. To some, the corollary of that is you have to treat everything like a bomb. Excpet, that is neither reasonable or practical. We simply do not have the resources, time or patience to treat everything that could be a threat, as a threat, cuz literally everything could be a threat.

    The fact is, on the scale of all things that could possibly be a bomb-- lost backpack, dunkin donuts box, left behind ups box, pile of newpapers, or even a plain trashcan--- these objects were pretty low on the list.

    Could a terrorist disguise a bomb with cartoon character? I suppose. Are they likely to? Probably not. In the end, the obvious marketing use of the object spoke pretty clearly to it not being a bomb. Finally, the overall volume of the object (basically a flat placard with a batttery pack at the bottom) meant it certainly couldn't be a very large bomb. For this, they shut down a city.

    I stand by my statements. The city overreacted, and the people who made those decisions are idots. And now, Menino and others want to find someone to blame for it.

     

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  53.  
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    confused, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 9:37am

    the MA AG said: "It had a very sinister appearance," Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."

    i think alot of items have wires and batteries. telephones. other electric signs. heck, i've seen light posts whtere the bottom wire plate was open and the light wiring was pulled out. that's not right.

    but let's look at it this way. what can we LEARN from this event? a) do your own marketing b) have people who know pop culture c) GET BOSTON A BETTER TERRORIST RESPONSE PLAN d) MAKE SURE YOUR AD CAMPAIGNS CAN'T BE CONFUSED FOR TERRORISM...

    i just can't wait to hear the court case against the 2 guys.

     

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  54.  
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    Matt Bennett, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 10:05am

    As far as I know, they've charged them with "public disturbance" whioch i don't really have a problem with. The stupid thing is, I'm sure they'd charge them "terrorism" if they thought they could make it stick.

     

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  55.  
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    Matt Bennett, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 10:09am

    '"It's clear the intent was to get attention by causing fear and unrest that there was a bomb in that location," Assistant Attorney General John Grossman said at their arraignment.'


    Um, no.

     

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  56.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 10:18am

    Re: In plain sight.

    you almost had me convinced with your argument. then my neurons started firing aegean, and thought this monitor in front of my face may be a bomb planted by terrorists to hide it in plain sight. That TV across the street in a window may be too.

    Now looking on the other side of things and say I was worried that it was a bomb, I still would be really pissed at how they handled it. In the reports it said quite clearly that they didn't know what it was so they blew it up. OK, but what if it was a biological weapon? did anyone think of that before spreading its contents all over the street? A VARY big overreaction

    the point is that ether way you look at it, it was a cluster. Adult Swim should have gotten permits to place those around the cities, someone should have reacted sooner (I think a real bomb would have gone off within the two weeks they were there.) The person who did react should have realised what they were to begin with (Probably wanted to get a reward) and the bomb squad should have figured out what they were dealing with before they blew it up.

    But maybe I'm wrong. Coming from an electronic background I can tell a breadboard and batteries when I see them. just looking at the picture I can tell that there isn't enough room to place an explosive. I can think of a good way to make it dangerous but it would involve the bomb squad blowing it up for me.

     

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  57.  
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    You have to think like an Irish Mobster, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 10:49am

    In Boston

    You people have to really digest this - it's not a joke, and it's not an exaggeration - the people who run this state truly see something like this as an OPPORTUNITY. The police get to ring in thousands of hours of overtime 'duty', the media is happy, EVERYONE GETS PAID! HALLEJULIAH!

    Everyone jokes about road crews that set up and do nothing for years - but i swear, it's a reality here. This whole state and economy are a big scam.

     

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  58.  
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    Tom, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 10:54am

    Post no bills

    It was an overreaction by officials. The signs should have had information about the owners on them.

    Personally, I don't think anyone should be allowed to place advertisements. newpaper machines, vote for me signs, yard sale signes, house for sale or anything else like that on public property. Period. As far as I'm concerned, it's litter and fair game for anyone to swipe or throw away.

    For some, that's too far, but at the least they should be required to register with officials and have a way for people to contact the parties responsible for the materials. Including to charge for cleanup costs if the item is found where it is not allowed.

    I'm tired of seeing "Lose Weight", "We buy houses" plastered over telephone and light posts. I hate seeing "Vote for Me" signs weeks after the election (though if it's on your private property, you can do what the hell you want of course).

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 11:06am

    Re: Post no bills

    > (though if it's on your private property, you can do what the hell you want of course).


    Can you though? Maybe I'll post a billboard in the front yard in my suburban neighborhood and get someone to pay me to advertise for their private enterprise. How fast do you think the local government would make me remove this?

     

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  60.  
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    SM, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 11:39am

    Bah

    Well I saw the pictures/video -- the 'devices' look like "Lite Brites' for god's sake. It seems like some official overreacted and now the city of Boston is going to want to be reimbursed for the expenses of their citywide scare. Now the city officials look like morons and want someone to blame for it

    The Boston Government deserves to eat every penny of that expense for their stupidity alone.

     

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  61.  
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    SailorAlphaCentauri, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:04pm

    Wow

    Somehow I managed to not see this on the news, but I first found out about this after the lengthy apology Adult Swim posted on its 'bump' cards in between shows. I think the reaction of the Boston terrorist squad would've been a little more believable if they had found these weeks ago when they were first posted.

    Yes, what the marketing company did was stupid (and someone's suggestion that they should've had Adult Swim stickers on the Lite-Brite looking devices is right on the money) but the reaction to these things was waaaay over the top. Instead of finding someone who may have known what the hell those things were, they just assumed that terrorists with a strange sense of humor was trying to blow up Boston. If that had been the case, wouldn't their terrorist alert system had warned them of this ahead of time? Seems to me that all of the homeland security systems would've heard something about this to give them a reason to suspect that these were bombs. Makes me wonder how the offices of homeland security are supposed to work.

    What's interesting is that a young man was interviewed in a CNN article and he said that he had noticed the one on the college campus area weeks ago and was surprised to see them taking it down. And I've also read that there may have been calls to tip the authorities off which makes me think it was possibly the marketing firm that made the calls (which would be really, really stupid). It's also interesting that these installations were in other cities across the country, but only Boston went to the great expense to think they were bombs instead of an image of an 8-bit alien giving the finger. But since I don't have all the facts, I'm just going to keep reading the Adult Swim forums to see how this will shake out in the end.

     

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  62.  
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    Matt Bennett, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:05pm

    Re: In Boston

    Wow, that's a really good point. I don't know if that's neccesarily how it went down, but it certainly could've been that way.

     

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  63.  
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    SailorAlphaCentauri, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Wow

    When I said "believable", I mean to say "understandable" about Boston's reactions (see the first paragraph).

     

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  64.  
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    a, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 12:15pm

    OK, the signs had been up for quite a while, they really didn't get much attention. Then, 5 calls are made to 911, all within 5 mins. of each other?

    Guess what, when it becomes widely known that the marketing firm called emergency services to get more "buzz" there really will be hell to pay.

     

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  65.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 1:30pm

    Re:

    If that's true than they should be arrested.

    BUT

    "The first device was found... just before 10 a.m." "received four calls, all at about 1 p.m."

    People saw the device being investigated and then blown up and reported the others that looked like the one on the news.

     

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  66.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    bomb placement

    In my city, there would be so many places a bomb could be left without anyone much noticing, except to whinge about the rubish left around. a hollowed out bike helmet could be left on a bike in the station, cardbord boxes could be left outside most shops, and made to look like a lunch-hour delivery, the possiblities go on and on. I really like the idea of raffic cones. you'd need detonatiors in some of the ones with lights on, but the normal rubber ones could be made of an explosive mixture, to increaseth the blast. scary, especialy since shops sometimes use the same sort of cones to mark wet floors. good thing "they" don't read TechDirt (I hope) :-)

     

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  67.  
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    Lite Brite, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 4:44pm

    Mooninites

    The City is to blame for over-reacting!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=4G-D0F4Q9yk

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 6:57pm

    Congratulations America!

    Congratulations America, in only 62 years we have gone from being the greatest generation in the greatest nation, to a bunch of cowards.

    It only took 62 years for us to become total fools. In Pakistan somewhere, Bin Laden is laughing his ass off.

    I feel sick.....

     

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  69.  
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    Joe Schmoe, Feb 2nd, 2007 @ 8:12am

    This cat is on to something:
    http://www.bunniestudios.com/wordpress/?p=153

    They should freakin plaster the city with "This is not a bomb" stickers...

     

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  70.  
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    Yo boston..., Feb 2nd, 2007 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Turner Should Do Jail Time

    Ya, you need a clue.

    Sure, the REAL PIPE BOMBS that were found were fake, that is they were REAL PIPES & assembled to LOOK like bombs AND planted where they would FRIGHTEN people. But without explosives.
    Your cops KNOW who planted them but guess what,?
    THEY AREN'T FILING CHARGES AGAINST HIM.

    However they WILL file charges against people that made them look stupid with an ad campaign.

    I'll bet you cannot see ANYTHING wrong with this either...

     

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  71.  
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    ollie, Feb 4th, 2007 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Turner Should Do Jail Time

    Was the recent Aqua Teen Hunger Force related guerilla marketing fiasco funny, an overreaction, or a serious crime? In a post-9-11 America, shouldn’t we be better safe than sorry? We all believe our level of national diligence must be greater today than it was a decade ago, bud don’t’ we still need to have to be standards to our reactions. Our officials must still maintain intelligent response levels. At some point, even in a post-9-11 world, overreaction is STILL overreaction. No matter your opinion, it is fair to ask what should be the standards for overreaction. I don’t expect to actually set those standards here and now, but we can, perhaps, consider the cold facts, and boring numbers of the Boston case. Let’s consider if the devices fit a reasonable standard as to if they appear to be a threat. According to the Massachusetts state bar’s president-elect, David White-Lief, the devices most likely do not resemble an “infernal machine” which is the state’s standard for a hoax device. If we don’t want to take his word for it, let’s consider the numbers.

    I am not a marketing expert. I do know, though, that marketing professionals calculate the impact a given campaign, such as a billboard, or Superbowl ad, will have. If any marketing experts want to weigh in with a good estimate as to how many people saw these devices I would appreciate it. In lieu of that, lets make a guess. These devices were placed in high traffic areas (they were ads after all) with the intent of being seen by as many people as possible. They were placed in ten cities, and they were up for nearly two weeks before a call was made to to the police. To make the math easy, lets just stay, ten devices were in ten cities for ten days. If 1,000 people saw each device each day, then 1 million people had seen one of these devices before someone called the police. That number sets a standard without needing to trust Mr. White-Lief’s opinion. That standard is one in a million. If one in a million American citizens think something looks like a bomb, than so we have to shut down a major American city over it? According the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services National Survey on Drug Use and Health, during the 2002 to 2005 period an estimated 1.4 million persons, or 0.6% of the population, over the age of twelve had used methamphetamines in the past year. That is six out of 1,000 people. If we stick to our one in a million standard, that means it’s time for the Department of Homeland Security to suit up and face the giant spider menace threatening the rural Midwest.

    All Americans want to fight terrorism. Fighting something usually implies taking proactive action, and generally does not conjure thoughts of restraint. A winning NASCAR driver might credit is engine with a victory, but ask him if he’d run his next race without his breaks. If we set an unattainable level sensitivity, that will not only overtax our protectors, thus preventing them from responding to true threats, it will shut down our ability to function as a civilized nation.

    Is this funny or is it overreaction? I’m sorry, but the better-safe-than-sorry manta is not Carte blanche. Was this funny? Yes, yes it is funny. The inconvenience, cost to the Bostonians, and threat of jail time, however, make it tragically funny. The tragedy stems from the overreaction of the Boston authorities.


    --- Ollie

    P.S. I have to give a recent “Onion” article credit for the “Giant Spider” idea.
    (thanks “Onion” http://www.theonion.com/content/news/meth_addicts_demand_government)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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